|Dael and the Painted People by Allan Richard Shickman|
A prehistoric adventure, this is the third of the Zan-Gah young adult books. When Dael, guilty and tormented, came to live with the tribe of the painted people, he longed for peace and restoration; but without knowing it, he made a powerful enemy. Luckily, Dael had friends-including a troop of crows-and his own mystical powers. The disturbed and violent hero learns from the Children of the Earth, and from his submissive wife, a new way of life that is peaceful and generous. Dael and the Painted People is a story of conflict, healing, hate, and love by the winner of the Eric Hoffer Award, a finalist for the ForeWord magazine Book of the Year Award, and the Mom's Choice Gold Seal for Excellence in a family-friendly book series.
I don't know what it is about the Zan-Gah novels that captivate me. I mean, a middle-grade prehistoric novel? It doesn't sound like something I would enjoy. And yet, I find the characters real, the settings and survival lifestyle fascinating and the themes timeless.
I first read Zan-Gah in July of 2010. The prehistoric characters in the series have deep feelings and although the time period is far removed from the present, readers will find themselves empathizing with Dael and his family.
The painted people are peaceful and are so connected to the red earth that they cover themselves with the crimson dust. Angry and regretful, Dael happens onto this new race of people with his subservient wife, Sparrow. The acceptance and love of the painted people is like a healing balm to Dael's scarred soul. Even Sparrow flourishes among their new people, finding that she can speak for the first time. When Sparrow gives birth to a child, Dael feels as if he has a new start in life.
What Dael doesn't know is that because of his affinity with wolves and crows, he has made an enemy of Shur, the local medicine man.
Dael is a conflicting character who dynamically changes for the better as he goes through internal and external struggles. Readers will be happy to see the changes that transform Dael.
Shickman has a smooth writing style and balances description and action with finesse. I find myself wanting to adventure with Dael to a land of striking beauty and dangerous survival.
Paperback, 168 pages
Published August 30th 2011 by Earthshaker Books